Thursday, July 29, 2010

Work Weekend!! Day 3 (Creationism)

Day 3

Sunday picks up where Saturday left off, with more noisy cutting and grinding. I would like to take the time to really thank Eric's neighbours for their tolerance and patience!

Some things are best removed with the Sawzall (whose proper name is reciprocating saw, before the Milwaukee Tool Company complains). Yesterday, you saw the car up way high on stands and blocks, we figured the easiest way to go about trial fitting is to lower the Geo onto the new rear end.

Here you can see it's getting close, but there is STILL more trimming needed. Another clearance issue becomes apparent, the shifter location. Let me re-iterate on this a bit, we don't count on being able to use the shifter while running, but it's still needed for gear ratio setup, and the all important reverse gear! I can't speak for the others, but I know I will most definitely need that on the track.

Wheel placement is also at play here: it needs to go where the rear wheels used to be! We are trying to increase the wheelbase slightly, since it probably can't hurt!

After three days worth of work, IT FITS!!! Everything clears nice and tight. I have to thank the original Suzuki design team for helping us, it seems that the angle the body tapers (viewed from top) is the same front to back, which made life much much easier. Also note how we were able to preserve the small beam where the hatch latch goes, and that the bumper is where it should be.

From the inside, you can just about see where the shifter ends up. It's not in the best spot in relation to the seat but you can operate it. You can also see the rough cutout for the snowmobile engine. It will probably go much lower, but for now this is all we could cut without going through the (rear) steering rack mounts.

I think it's maybe time to start talking about structural integrity for this lot, so forgive my ramblings as I try to put this into words. What is key here, is tying the firewall from the Firefly (highlighted in baby blue, ha ha) to the rest of the Geo (in red). First will be joining everything at the floor. This involves tying the floor mounts from the blue bit, into the box section from the red bit. We plan on doing this with a clever box beam of some sort, using some scavenged door crash bars from the Firefly.

Next will be tying up the sides. We want to blue bit on the right to mate nicely to the B-pillar from the red car, and back down to the floor. This I think involves some kind of sheet gusset, going from the side of the blue firewall, to the red B-pillar (at the door), then back down to the floor. The end result of this should like (VERY APPROXIMATELY) like an F1 tub. Yes ladies and gents, I am making an F1 reference on a Lemons project.

Of course, we'll have to accomplish this while measuring and aligning both axles so we end up with a straightish car, while working outside on a soft and uneven dirt and mud surface using basic hand tools and measuring equipment no more sophisticated than the ancient Egyptians had... Of course they did make some pretty cool monuments

Work Weekend!! Day 2

Day 2

Saturday was spent cutting, a lot! We used a few different methods for this, first being the sawzall. Everybody goes on about the sawzall (with the appropriate blade of course) being the weapon of choice for cutting through a car. We also tried the more traditional grinder with cutting wheel, which seemed to wear through very quickly, and with a diamond tipped wheel. The same kind typically reserved for cutting tiles or masonry. This did a fantastic job when cutting through a single layer of sheet, and was easier than the sawzall when it comes to accuracy.

Step one was to make some cardboard templates, to give us a rough idea of what needs to go and what needs to stay. We are trying to keep the outside shell of the car intact, to preserve the appearance of a "normal" Geo. Of course, the plan is to go by trial and error, so we cut up enough so that we think we can get the Firefly part into the Geo, try it, fail, then cut some more... In order to ensure a good fit, we had to do this a lot.

Yours truly, now standing in what used to be the rear subframe. Interesting to note that Geos don't actually have subframes that you can unbolt as such. Everything is welded in, which is great for lightness, but bad for rust. In this case, all of the structurally important boxes were corroding from the inside.

After a few hours of trimming off the back in chunks, you end up with a fair sized hole, which is getting pretty close. The goal here was to be able to wheel the Firefly subframe under the Geo, to physically match things up. You can also see that we left some of the box section (I guess you could call it some kind of beam) that extends aft. The intent here is to use it to tie things together, but we have zero idea on how long this part needs to be.

Finally, after a day's work it sort of fits. In reality, the Geo is jacked up WAY high, as high as the 5-ton jackstands will allow: This makes the roof a few inches taller than a Suzuki SX-4. The major clearance issues to be solved tomorrow are:
  • The length of those boxed sections I mentioned earlier
  • The bottom corners of the fenders, by this I mean where the bumper used to be.
  • The inner fenders need more trimming.
And on to day 3!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Work Weekend!! Day 1

We haven't given up on the Metroneige just yet, although it's been a while since our last update: Summer fun does get in the way of progress sometimes, but I digress.

A (nearly) three day push was planned for last weekend. I will be giving you day by day accounts, since work was divided as such.

Day 1

Today's plan was to finish gutting the Firefly, that meant salvaging what we could in terms of parts and sheet metal, then chopping her up ready for disposal. I will let pictures do most of the explaining:

Having the car already split into two halves certainly helped with the job.

Draining nasty old gas. Although it's hard to tell, this had turned red from nearly three years of sitting in a rusting tank...

The more clever among you will notice a sweet stiffer spring swap done to the Firefly... actually we decided to keep the original/actual springs. These are supposedly stiffer than the springs on the Metro, and can be adapted to fit (maybe).

The team also managed to finish the patching on the more major rust holes in the floor of the Metro. Yes that is black paint, delicately applied to the floor by dumping it out of the can and wiping it around using paper towels. Eric's reasoning on this is that by integrating some rust particles and dirt to the paint, we can get a free non-slip surface.

Finally, the last accomplishment of the day was cleaning the rust off the Firefly front suspension/axle/assembly thing and trimming it down to the bare essentials.